Family Tree not working on FHC computers

Issues related to the use and operation of Family History Centers
theClaw56
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Family Tree not working on FHC computers

Postby theClaw56 » Sat Aug 24, 2013 3:47 pm

I'm the Stake Technology Specialist for the Nashua New Hampshire Stake. I'm wondering if anyone else has experienced the problem we are having with Family Tree on our FHC computers.

For about 4 weeks now Family Tree either fails to load or displays partial trees with error messages. This happens whether using Chrome or Internet Explorer. Through lots of testing I have determined that only the 4 FHC computers have this problem. Three of the FHC computers are Dell Optiplex 790s and one is a Dell Optiplex 580. All 4 were put into service in Nov 2011 and all are running Windows 7. Family Tree works just fine on the 4 Dell Optiplex 580 clerk computers in the building. It also works just fine on an Ubuntu 10.04 system that we have in the building.

Today on one of the FHC Dell Optiplex 790s I booted into Linux using a lubuntu 13.04 Live CD. I configured IP parameters to be the same as used under Windows 7. I was able to use Family Tree just fine on the Chromium browser. This proves to me that it isn't a hardware problem. It appears that something has gone wrong in the Windows 7 installation on all 4 FHC computers.

Has anyone else seen this? Does anyone have ideas on what to try next? Thanks.

russellhltn
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Re: Family Tree not working on FHC computers

Postby russellhltn » Sat Aug 24, 2013 4:55 pm

Do you have the same problem under Admin or only under the Patron login? Here's what I'd do:
  • Clear the browser cache
  • Clear the cookies
  • If that fails, I'd strongly consider clearing the patron's profile.
Have you searched the Wiki?
Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

theClaw56
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Location: Nashua, New Hampshire

Re: Family Tree not working on FHC computers

Postby theClaw56 » Sat Aug 24, 2013 6:09 pm

I logged on using the Admin account. This account has never been used to access familysearch.org (or anything else really). I verified that there were no cookies. I then went to familysearch.org and clicked on "Family Tree". I then entered my username and password. As usually seems to happen, the following appeared in the browser: "Family Tree Failed to Load" with a button "Try Again". I clicked on "Try Again" and the same error message showed up. I also tried it with Internet Explorer with the same results.

russellhltn
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Re: Family Tree not working on FHC computers

Postby russellhltn » Sat Aug 24, 2013 6:35 pm

I think Family Tree is using HTML5. Something may be preventing that from working on that computer. Other then a requirement for IE9 or later, Chrome or Firefox, I'm not seeing anything about settings to make it work.
Have you searched the Wiki?

Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

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johnshaw
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Re: Family Tree not working on FHC computers

Postby johnshaw » Sun Aug 25, 2013 5:34 am

We also have serious problems with the site. FamilySearch walked us through clearing the cache - we continue to have issues, Chrome, IE, etc...

I think the technology on the server end is WAY ahead of the technology in FHC's - Internet Connections are slow, computers are JUNK, Windows XP is likely a problem also. I've got ALL cascaded computers in my 4 centers, they are all at least 2 proc and 4 GB RAM (I've upgraded to see if that helps) - but XP limitations and speeds of the computers, with Slow Internet Connections - I just think we're out of luck until we have faster computers. -- Obviously they are not going to dumb down the code.
“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.”
― Thomas Paine, Common Sense

theClaw56
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Location: Nashua, New Hampshire

Re: Family Tree not working on FHC computers

Postby theClaw56 » Sun Aug 25, 2013 7:06 am

The Dell Optiplex 580 is a 2 core AMD processor running at 2800 MHz and has 4 GB of RAM. Our building is using Comcast for internet. I just used speedtest.lds.org to get these results:

Download Speed: 4511 kbps (563.9 KB/sec transfer rate)
Upload Speed: 4833 kbps (604.1 KB/sec transfer rate)
Latency: 81 ms
Jitter: 7 ms
Packet Loss: 0%

The network in our building was upgraded in the last 6 months to the latest 881W firewall.

I've tried all the typical things like cycling power on the firewall and the cable modem. The FHC has an 8-port switch with a home run to the firewall. I cycled power on that. None of that makes any difference.

There are 4 clerk PCs in the building. All are Dell Optiplex 580s. One runs XP and the others run Windows 7 Enterprise. One of the FHC PCs is a 580 running Windows 7. Family Tree works on all the clerk computers. It doesn't work on the FHC computer.

As mentioned, most often I get the "Family Tree failed to load properly" error message. I click on the "Try Again" button and sometimes I get through to where the tree shows up. However, in the upper right corner will be an error message saying "An error occurred reading the temple ordinance status". Sometimes instead of "Family Tree failed to load" an ugly message about "internal server error" shows up. Pressing F5 to force a refresh sometimes makes the tree show up. Usually this error shows up: "No Data Received" with two buttons "Reload" and "More". Sometimes after pressing F5 to refresh, instead of the tree being displayed, it turns into a single column of text to the left side that has all the names that should show up in boxes in the tree.

This all has the feel of communication errors between the browser and the server. However, something is different about the FHC computers. I think clerk computers get all their updates during the MLS Send/Receive. The FHC computers get their updates a different way. Also, FHC computers have some FHC background tasks running.

I don't know yet what is causing this behavior. I might have to rebuild one of the FHC computers to see if that makes a difference.

theClaw56
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Re: Family Tree not working on FHC computers

Postby theClaw56 » Mon Sep 02, 2013 6:52 am

It turns out that this problem is being caused by some interaction between the computers and the 881W firewall.

I did further testing on Sunday when the building was empty. I physically moved one of the FHC Dell Optiplex 790 PCs into the room where the Comcast cable modem and 881W firewall are located. I verified that Family Tree still didn't work when the PC was connected to the firewall. Then I connected the PC directly to the cable modem bypassing the firewall and Family Tree worked just fine.

There is an 8-port Linksys switch in the FHC to which all the FHC PCs are connected. The next test was to move the ethernet cable that goes to that switch from the firewall to the cable modem. When I did this then Family Tree worked on all the other FHC PCs. I then put everything back to its original configuration with everything going through the firewall, and Family Tree no longer works on the 4 FHC PCs.

This pretty much proves to me that something is going on between the firewall and the PCs. What is very confusing though is that Family Tree works just fine on the other PCs in the building that also go through the firewall. All the clerk PCs are Dell Optiplex 580s. One of the FHC PCs is also a 580. Why do the clerk PCs all work just fine through the firewall, but the FHC 580 doesn't?

russellhltn
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Re: Family Tree not working on FHC computers

Postby russellhltn » Mon Sep 02, 2013 11:37 am

How are the IPs assigned? Is it possible that the computers that don't work have static IPs? In that case you will want to take a closer look at their settings and compare them to the "good" ones. Maybe they're pointing to a out-of-date DNS and can't get a website needed.

I've also found that when assigning static IPs that not all of them seem to be able to browse the Internet - even when within the right subset for the firewall. No idea what that's about, but it's worth checking to see if those IPs are "bad".

At any rate, I'd take a hard look at the network settings of those computers.
Have you searched the Wiki?

Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

theClaw56
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Joined: Sun May 26, 2013 7:44 am
Location: Nashua, New Hampshire

Re: Family Tree not working on FHC computers

Postby theClaw56 » Mon Sep 02, 2013 5:15 pm

We have two blocks of IP addresses:

USER1:
Subnet: 10.157.234.128
Mask: 255.255.255.128
Gateway: 10.157.234.129
STATIC: 10.157.234.130 - .138 Size: 9
DHCP: 10.157.234.139 - .254 Size: 116

USER2:
Subnet: 10.158.54.1
Mask: 255.255.255.128
Gateway: 10.158.54.1
STATIC: 10.158.54.2 - .19 Size: 18
DHCP: 10.158.54.20 - .126 Size: 107

All the PCs in the building are in the USER2 subnet and have static IPs. They are all using the same two Google DNS of 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4.

As an experiment I changed the IP address of one of the FHC Dell Optiplex 790s from 10.158.54.3 to 10.158.54.33. No change in Family Tree behavior. I then moved it over to USER1's subnet with an IP address of 10.157.234.133. Again, no change in Family Tree behavior. (I made sure nothing was using those IP addresses before changing.)

I then changed the IP back to the original IP. Still no change in Family Tree behavior. Usually it says "Family Tree failed to load properly. Try Again..." Clicking on "Try Again..." usually gets back to the same place. If I press F5 instead sometimes the tree actually loads. I click on the expand arrow and the tree expands to the right. Then the error "An error occurred reading the temple ordinance status" will show up. I press F5 again and a different error shows up "Unable to display pedigree due to a server error" I press F5 again and nothing shows up except the top and bottom page info. The tree area is blank. I close the browser and start over. I enter my LDS login credentials and "No data received. Reload. More" pops up. I click on "Reload" and the tree shows up. I can expand a couple of times and then the ordinance status error shows up. This is the typical frustration.

As it stands right now, Family Tree is useless in our FHC. Not a very good user experience for the patrons that come in.

I'm going to get a USB ethernet adapter and use that to try a wired connection with different hardware. I might also try a USB WiFi adapter to see if that makes any difference. If neither of those approaches work, I might have to bypass the firewall and connect the FHC directly to the cable modem.

russellhltn
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Re: Family Tree not working on FHC computers

Postby russellhltn » Mon Sep 02, 2013 7:31 pm

theClaw56 wrote:If neither of those approaches work, I might have to bypass the firewall and connect the FHC directly to the cable modem.

Bad idea:
  • The computers would be on the Internet without the protection of a firewall/router
  • You'd be taking more then one public IP from the ISP. That could come back and cost the church additional money.
  • It's against policy to bypass the firewall.

I'm running out of ideas. You might try swapping IPs between working and not working - just to make sure. You might also try DHCP. Static IPs were used when we had a problem getting a big enough pool. I have had problems with certain static IPs not being able to properly browse.

Failing that, I'd suggest contacting FHC Support. But you'll have to get past the first line of service missionaries to get help.

One last thought: When you're connected behind the firewall, you're on the church VPN. It's possible that going to FS you get a combination of things from public IPs and private IPs. Some setting in those PCs may not like that. (Intranet zone settings?) If you can't identify it, you may have to reload them.
Have you searched the Wiki?

Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.


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